What impression are you leaving?
I have to tell you something you’ve probably already heard before, but if you haven’t it could save your writing career. As an author, you need to put your best foot forward. This sounds simple and even trite, but it isn’t always easy to do.
I get lots of review requests lately, which I love! In one author’s review request, the synopsis was disjointed. There was no flow to the description of the book. Unfortunately it was also filled with grammar errors and even included a mistake by the author in pasting the synopsis in the email. Needless to say, I was not eager to read the book. The subject sounded interesting, but the mistakes scared me away.
Authors rely on those short pieces of our work to open the door to new readers. If the only chance we might have to gain a reader scares them away instead of drawing them in, we aren’t going to enjoy much success.
When you send your book to your editor, include a page or two with your synopsis, acknowledgments, author bio, and any other advertising info that goes along with your book. These are just as important as the body of the writing. Most editors will gladly include these in your editing, because their reputation is invested in your book almost as much as yours is.
When people point out errors in your book, your blurb, your website, or wherever, LISTEN. Of course, you should check on their accuracy. But they may be helping you. Never mistake a technical correction for a personal attack. Unless you are writing about grammar, a criticism of your grammar can only help you.
If you laugh off someone’s criticism and feel like it’s no big deal, then you are also laughing off your own success. Take them seriously, even if they are wrong. If you don’t take their advice, it’s appropriate to tell them why.
I have received criticism for my writing as well, and some helped me to fix major mistakes in my work. Others were a matter of preference rather than correctness, and others still were items that I had discussed with my editor and deferred to her judgment. Still, I explained these to the person kind enough to point them out.
Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes Microsoft Word seems possessed, deleting important bits and allowing strange mistakes to remain after I thought I deleted them. We understand that. Just know that a stranger will view their first glimpse at your writing as your best.
If you treat your writing like an unimportant hobby, that’s how it will stay. Nobody is interested in rocketing you to fame when you don’t really care. To succeed as a writer you have to approach it as a business with all the professionalism required by a job. Even more, it’s a sales job, so your audience’s first look might be your only shot. Make that shot a bulls-eye!